INSTANT “AHAH!” #1: FOCUSING —Find out what is bothering you

By , September 5, 2008 3:38 pm

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual         Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual

You can download the complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, ten Listening/Focusing exercises for immediate application at home and work, in English or Spanish, from the links to Word files above. 

If you purchase The Self-Help Package multi-media package, instead of just reading, you can listen to the Pre-Focusing and Focusing Instructions directly with Dr. McGuire on audio CD and watch Listening/Focusing demonstrations on the DVD-R. In the Spanish version of the manual, Focusing En Comunidad, you will find many of the Relaxation and Focusing Exercises in Spanish. You will also receive instructions on setting up a Focusing Partnership or Focusing Group to practice the equal exchange of Listening/Focusing turns.

INSTANT “AHAH!” # 1 Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering You

Focusing On the Creative Edge

Intuitive Focusing is one-half of the two Core Skills basic to Creative Edge Focusing. Intuitive Focusing can be used any time to find out what is bothering you. Intuitive Focusing involves spending time with the vague, wordless “intuitive sense” that there is something — something you can’t quite put your finger on or put into words — but something definitely determining your behavior or how you feel or the inkling of an idea or solution —

Intuitive Focusing can be used not just for personal problem-solving but for sitting with The Creative Edge of anything: a piece of creative art or writing, an exciting professional problem to solve, a good feeling that has a spiritual edge —see Focusing and Personal Growth, Focusing and Creativity and Focusing and Spirituality described on The Creative Edge Focusing website.

Description of Gendlin’s Six Step Focusing Process

First, I will describe Gendlin’s (Focusing, Bantam, 1981, 1984) process, then I will walk you through some actual instructions below. Here are Gendlin’s six steps for use of this inner, meditation-like problem-solving process in a self-help way:

(1) Clearing a Space: setting aside the jumble of thoughts, opinions, and analysis we all carry in our minds, and making a clear, quiet space inside where something new can come.

(2) Getting a Felt Sense: asking an open-ended question like “What is the feel of this whole thing (issue, situation, problem)?” and, instead of answering with one’s already-known analysis, waiting silently as long as a minute for the subtle, intuitive, “bodily feel” of “the whole thing” to form.

(3) Finding a Handle: carefully looking for some words or an image that begin to capture the “feel of the whole thing,” the Felt Sense, The Creative Edge: “It’s ‘jumpy;'” “It’s scared;” “It’s like the dew of a Spring morning;” “It’s like macaroni and cheese — comforting,” “It’s like jet propulsion! Something new that needs to spring forth!”

(4) Resonating and Checking: taking the Handle words or image and holding them against the Felt Sense, asking “Is this right? Is it ‘jumpy’?, etc. Finding new words or images if needed until there is a sense of “fit”: “Yes, that’s it. Jumpy.”

(5) Asking: asking open-ended questions (questions that don’t have a “Yes” or “No” or otherwise fixed or “closed” answer) like “And what is so hard about that?” or “And why does that have me stuck?” or “What was so beautiful about that moment?” or “And how does this apply to everything else?” and, again, instead of answering with already-known analysis, waiting silently for the whole-body-sense, the Felt Sense, to arise.

At each Asking, the Focuser also goes back to steps (2), (3) and (4) as necessary, waiting for the Felt Sense to form, finding Handle words, Resonating and Checking until there is a sense of “fit”: “Yes, that’s it.” This often physically-felt experience of tension release and easing in the body, this sense of having found the right words, is called a Felt Shift by Dr. Gendlin. Dr. McGuire calls it a Paradigm Shift It can be a small step of “Yes, that’s it” or a larger unfolding, a huge insight, with many pieces of the puzzle suddenly falling into place and a flow of new words and images and possible action steps. Sometimes there is also a flood of tears of acknowledgment and relief or the release of other pent-up emotions. This is an Instant “Ahah!”.

(6) Receiving: at each new step, each Felt Shift, taking a moment to sit with the new “intuitive feel,” simply acknowledging and appreciating your own inner knowing for this new insight. Then, you can start again at step (5), Asking another open-ended question, (“And what is so important about this?”; “And why did that have me stuck?”; “And where does my mother come into all of this?”, etc.). And, again, step (2), waiting for the Felt Sense to form, step (3) finding a Handle, step (4) Resonating and Checking until there is a Felt Shift, a sense of “That’s it!”, another Instant “Ahah!”.

A First Attempt: Find Out What Is Bothering You

Set aside at least 30 minutes for this first attempt. Remember, Focusing is a skill usually taught in 10 two-hour classes or two weekend workshops —so, if it doesn’t work for you immediately, don’t give up! Find a nearby teacher from the Focusing Institute Listings (  ) or arrange for phone sessions with Dr. McGuire or another Creative Edge Consultant .

But, some people are natural Focusers and just say, “Oh, yes. I’ve been doing this all my life. Now, I can just do it better, more predictably, whenever I want. Give it a try:
(for audio company, purchase Intuitive Focusing Instructions CD as part of our Self-Help Package at  — leave at least one minute of silence between each instruction)

Step One: Clearing A Space (Relaxation exercise in this case)

—Okay — first, just get yourself comfortable — feel the weight of your body on the chair — loosen any clothing that is too tight —
(one minute)
—Spend a moment just noticing your breathing — don’t try to change it — just notice the breath going in — and out —
(one minute)
—Now, notice where you have tension in your body (pause) —
(one minute)
—Now, imagine the tension as a stream of water, draining out of your body through your fingertips and feet (Pause) —
(one minute)
—Let yourself travel inside of your body to a place of peace —
(one minute)

Step Two: Getting A Felt Sense

—Now, bring to mind an incident or a situation that was troublesome for you this week (pause as long as necessary) — Think about it or get a mental image of it —
(one minute)
—Now, try to set aside all of your thoughts about the situation, and just try to bring back the feeling you had in that situation (pause) — not words, but the “intuitive feel” of yourself in that situation —
(one minute)

Step Three: Finding A Handle

—Now, carefully try to find words or an image for that feeling —
(one minute)

Step Four: Resonating and Checking

—Go carefully back and forth between any words and the “intuitive feel of the whole thing” until you find words or an image that are just right for it —
(one minute)

Step Five: Asking

—Now, gently ask yourself, “What is so hard about this situation for me?”, and wait, at least a minute, to see what comes in your wordless intuition, your whole-body sense —
(one minute)
—Again, carefully find words or an image that exactly fit that whole feeling — going back and forth until the symbols are “just right.”
(one minute)
—Now, imagine what the situation would be like if it were perfectly all right
(one minute)
—Now, ask yourself, “What’s in the way of that?” and, again, don’t answer from your head, what you already know, but wait, as long as a minute, for something new to come in the center of your body, more like a wordless intuition or whole-body sense —
(one minute)
—Again, carefully find words or an image for that, “whatever is in the way” —go back and forth until the symbols are “just right.”
(one minute)
—Now, see if you can find some small step you might be able to take to move yourself in a positive direction — again, don’t answer from your head, the already known, but wait as much as a minute for the wordless, intuitive “feel,” the bodily felt sense of an answer to arise —
(one minute)
—Take a moment, again, to carefully find words or an image for this possible next step — go back and forth until the symbols are “just right.”
(one minute)
—Check with your “intuitive feel,” “Is this right? Is this really something I could try doing?” — If your “intuitive feel” says, “Yes (some sense of release, relaxation), I could try that,” then you can stop here.
—If your “felt sense” says “No, I can’t do that” or “That won’t work,” then ask yourself again, “What small step in the positive direction would work?”, again, waiting quietly, as much as a minute for an intuitive answer to arise, then making words or an image for it — going back and forth until the symbols are “just right.”
(one minute)
—Keep going back and forth between the “intuitive feel” and possible words and images as long as you are comfortable, or until you experience “Ahah! That’s it!”.
(one minute or more)

Step Six: Receiving

—Whether a “solution” has arisen or not, appreciate yourself and your body for taking time with this, trusting that pausing to take time is the important thing — solutions can then arise later.
(one minute)

The crux of change is just spending quiet time paying attention to the “intuitive feel.” If no clear next step arises, just remind yourself that at least you have gotten a clearer sense of the problem. Because you have spent quiet, Intuitive Focusing time with the “feel” of “the whole thing,” you have started a process of change. Something new may “pop up” later, as you go about your day.

Want to share your experience, do Focusing online and get an actual Listening Response, ask questions? Join The Creative Edge Practive yahoo e-support group.

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 See Core Concept: Conflict Resolution to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

See Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

4 Responses to “INSTANT “AHAH!” #1: FOCUSING —Find out what is bothering you”

  1. […] Creative Edge Focusing Blog Dr. McGuire’s blog: Ultimate Self-Help:Parenting, Education, Health, Intimacy, Business « INSTANT “AHAH!” #1: FOCUSING —Find out what is bothering you […]

  2. […] Step Focusing Process and gave the Complete Focusing Exercise. If you are just joining us, go to blog Intuitive Focusing to read this e-newsletter before proceeding to read the example of a Focusing Turn […]

  3. […] Focusing Process and gave the Complete Focusing Exercise. If you are just joining us, go to blog Complete Focusing Session before proceeding so you will understand the basic steps of Focusing and prepared to do the […]

  4. […] Complete Focusing Exercise. If you are just joining us, go to e-newsletter archive to read this blog before proceeding so you will understand the basic steps of Focusing and prepared to do the practice […]

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